Fall 2016 – Wednesday 1:30 – 4:30pm
Forest Sciences Centre 1617

Instructor: Dr. Shannon M. Hagerman
Office: FSC 2031
Email: Shannon.hagerman@ubc.ca
Phone: 604-827-2625

Course Requirements and Purpose

This course is open to graduate students at UBC with an interest in qualitative and mixed-methods research inquiry. It is expected that many students who take this course will have limited (or no) training in qualitative research methods and design. The organization of this course is therefore designed to maximize exposure to, and engagement with multiple forms of qualitative data collection (as well as multiple research designs). This methods “menu” focus will provide students with exposure to a range of commonly used approaches in qualitative and mixed-methods inquiry.

Course Description

FRST 528/CONS 528 is an introductory graduate-level seminar covering social science research methods and research design with a strong emphasis on qualitative approaches (we will also address survey methods in mixed methods designs). We will use an interactive workshop format to engage with conceptual and applied aspects of the course material. Through this format, students will participate actively in discussions relating to the week’s readings, as well as gain applied experience using an array of different (mostly) qualitative research methods and approaches to analysis.

Three themes provide the structure the organization of the course: foundations, applications and interpretation and communication in qualitative and mixed-methods inquiry. The foundations theme focusses on theoretical paradigms and perspectives in qualitative inquiry, epistemological considerations about the nature of evidence and validity, ethical considerations and protocols for research involving humans, and principles of qualitative and mixed-methods research design. The applications theme focusses on exposure to, and engagement with an array of data collection methods. Methods include different forms of interviews, participant observation, document analysis and survey design (among others). The interpretation and communication theme focusses on qualitative data analysis, qualitative data analysis software (e.g. NVivo), and writing qualitative and mixed-methods inquiry for different audiences.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

  • Identify and describe different philosophical research paradigms in the social sciences
  • Critically evaluate diverse perspectives and practices for assessing validity and rigour in different research paradigms
  • Describe central ethical concerns inherent to qualitative inquiry and strategies/requirements for ensuring ethical conduct for research involving humans
  • Illustrate the key components of a robust qualitative or mixed-methods research design and apply this knowledge to construct a logically coherent preliminary research design
  • Describe and evaluate the fit of different forms of data collection as they relate to different research designs
  • Design basic protocols for, and carry out an array of social science data collection methods
  • Identify, evaluate and apply different approaches to analysing and interpreting qualitative data
  • Recognize common dilemmas in analyzing, interpreting and writing qualitative and mixed-methods inquiry, and formulate strategies to address
  • Critically evaluate claims in published qualitative research
  • Communicate the findings of qualitative inquiry for different audiences

Download full PDF course outline